Fees are used to help the program operate. Without fees, we would not be able to participate in the fun and exciting opportunities throughout the year. Each year the Band Director along with your Board of Directors determines the funds needed to sustain the program based on previous years expenses, expected expenses for the year, and the number of students we expect to have participating (this is what we referred to as Annual Operating Cost).
As a new band parent, it can be a bit overwhelming and confusing to enter the marching band world. No one likes fees and we are no exception but marching band is an extracurricular activity. Like many sports and clubs at South Hills High School, Marching Band can be an expensive proposition. Gone are the days when the school districts pay for all those extras that may have been covered when we all attended high school (this is usually a surprise to Rookie parents). We are fortunate to live in a district where some of the expenses are still covered by our district, but they do not provide enough and most of the expenses fall on the band booster organization and the parents.
The expenses associated with a marching band season include (but may not be limited to):
Technical staff and instructors
Entry Fees for Competitions
Equipment and repairs
Uniform Maintenance and Repair
So, as you can see we are talking thousands and thousands of dollars (hundreds of thousands if you include instrument costs). The School District pays the salary of the Band Director and transportation to and from football games and competitions, but every other financial aspect of the program is the responsibility of the Boosters. The band boosters currently cover expenses related to the home competition, and various items that come up during the school year. For example, in the past few seasons we assisted in the purchase of props for the shows, color guard flags, the costs for bringing in experts in different fields of music to teach the kids and etc. It all adds up to 10’s of thousands of dollars !
One of our biggest single cost each year is staff. While the district funding does not provide us with more than one teacher, we are extremely fortunate to collect funds to provide additional staff so that we may offer a full comprehensive band program. We typically have 8-10 instructional staff on the field. Each instructor is a specialist and is assigned to a specific category of instruction: front ensemble percussion, battery percussion, color guard, marching and movement. Our staff is a very important component in our ability to effectively teach our students the many skills needed in order for them to achieve a high level of excellence and success.
That leaves what the parents cover. The first year is the biggest hit. The warm-ups and marching band footwear can be used for all 4 years in high school (assuming they don’t outgrow them !). Color guard parents do have the extra cost of costumes each year, but band parents have the extra cost of instruments and instrument upkeep since many of our band members are playing their own personal instruments. Then there are trip expenses, activity fees, show shirts, private lesson and etc. It can all add up pretty quickly !
* * * For Band Fees and Payment Schedule, Refer to Band and Color Guard Handbook.
So, yes marching band is expensive, but there are ways to reduce your personal costs.
The South Hills Band Boosters is a non-profit organization therefore, our budget is for a zero profit or loss. Band fees are kept as low as possible to ensure maximum participation. No student will be excluded for financial reasons however, it is your responsibility as a parent, along with your student, to participate in the many fundraising activities that are available to pay these fees. The fundraisers we offer to our students and parents can completely off-set the band fees if optimized.
Please feel free to ask any questions along the way and attend booster meetings so you can see where every dollar goes.